Posts Tagged: The Guardian

Saving William Blake’s House

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William Blake lived in a cottage in West Sussex for three years beginning in 1800. Now the cottage is up for sale and the Blake Society wants to save the house for historic purposes. They negotiated a discounted price with the owners and are hoping to crowdsource the £520,000 necessary to buy the property and turn it into a museum, reports the Guardian.

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Million Word Novel

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Author Alan Moore, best known for graphic novels like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and V for Vendetta, has just finished the first draft of his second novel, Jerusalem, a manuscript with a million words. The Guardian reports that Moore’s latest work beats out classic long reads like Samuel Richardson’s 970,000 word Clarissa or Tolstoy’s 560,000 word War and Peace.

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Are YA Dystopian Novels Breeding Conservatives?

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The Harry Potter series might have been helping make young kids more open and accepting of diversity, but a new crop of young adult novels might be push kids in the opposite direction of the political spectrum. Heroines like Katniss Everdeen and Tris Prior aren’t just strong women–they’re exceptionally special people oppressed by nanny states politics, claims Ewan Morrison, writing over at The Guardian, who suggests that instead of encouraging young people to question authority, these young adult dystopias are simply reinforcing technocratic libertarianism ideals:

What marks these dystopias out from previous ones is that, almost without exception, the bad guys are not the corporations but the state and those well-meaning liberal leftists who want to make the world a better place.

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In Search of Inner Voice

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Researches are taking advantage of the Edinburgh International Book Festival to look for the source of authors’ inner voice.  Many writers describe hearing characters’ or narrators’ voices speaking to them. The researchers are looking to establish what the inner voice sounds like and how authors tune into it, reports The Guardian:

Early on in their writing life, there may be little to distinguish the inner voice of the author from the voice of the character.

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Riskier Books Find Readers

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The changing economics of the publishing industry may be hurting profits, but it has also allowed writers room to experiment with new forms that are often more challenging to readers than has been allowable in the past. Instead of meeting declining sales with pedestrian replicas of past successes, authors are taking greater risks, and often rewarded for it, explains Thomas McMullan at the Guardian:

Perhaps the taste for inventiveness stems not so much from reaching back into modernism, but more from the desire to find something representative of the physically detached, digitally connected way most of us communicate, just as Joyce was compelled to find a new way to express the rapidly changing face of the early 20th century.

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Word of the Day: Eidolism

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(n.); belief in ghosts; etymology difficult to trace, but typically attributed to the Greek eidolon (“image, apparition, phantom, ghost”)

There was something else in the house, unmentioned and unlabelled. A sort of shadowy presence that hovered by the back door. No one referred to it, so I kept quiet, but without ever really actually seeing anything I knew it was a boy.

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Writers Are Poor

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A British study has confirmed that professional writers aren’t making very much money, and worse, that earnings for writers have fallen 29% since 2005. A survey of 2,500 British authors found median annual income at just £11,000 ($18,800) and only 11.5% of authors were earning a living solely through writing.

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An Author By Any Other Name

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Authors sometimes choose pseudonyms for marketing purposes or in order to rebrand themselves after some catastrophic career decision. Sometimes, they just want anonymity. In the case of Sarah Hall (the journalist), because another Sarah Hall (the Man Booker-shortlisted author) had already published a number of books under her given name, the former was left with the challenge of inventing a pseudonym, a process she found disconcerting.

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An Agnostic, Chortling Freelance Space-Yahoo

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Amid all the meanings and uses that give a word its weight, it’s easy to forget that language is ultimately a system of arbitrary signs. Lexicographer Paul Dickson’s new book “Authorisms—Words Wrought by Writers” chronicles some of the most dynamic moments in a language’s history: those instances when writers endeavored not just to create with words but to create the words themselves.

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Digital Age Changes Writing

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Technology has changed the way writers write, and that change is not just about the rise of e-books. Composition in a digital world is much more malleable and fluid, and changes in methodology alter the structure of sentences and words. Author Tom McCarthy tells the Guardian:

Writing with word processors has given a new organisation to shaping sentences but it has also given flexibility; paragraphs can be switched, flipped and thrown out with an ease that would’ve been impossible when working with a typewriter.

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Digital Age Fuels Sci-Fi Short Stories

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The digital era has brought on a new golden age of science fiction. Electronic books, self-driving cars, and video phones may not seem too fictional these days, but technology like the Internet has empowered all sorts of new distribution methods connecting sci-fi writing with the fans who support it. New science fiction magazines launch with crowd funding campaigns, while tools like podcasts make fandom even easier— and ultimately, it’s all about the fans:

Sci-fi and fantasy’s online success is down to the strength of its community.

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The Poetry Archive Anew

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Poetryarchive.org, the online poetry resource founded by retired British poet laureate Andrew Motion and the recording producer Richard Carrington a decade ago, has just been relaunched. In the GuardianMotion talks about the origins of the website and it new redesign:

Our original intention was to combine three things: pleasure for the general reader/listener, by bringing together existing recordings of “historic” poets with new recordings of contemporaries that we would make or commission ourselves; help for students of all ages and their teachers, by combining these recordings with introductions, brief biographies, lesson plans, a glossary of terms, and all sorts of other educational bells and whistles; a safe haven for poet’s voices, which would mean their voices were not lost to posterity.

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Rumpus Round-Up: All the Abramson News Fit to Print

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Jill Abramson, the first woman to head the New York Times as executive editor, was abruptly fired Wednesday and replaced by managing editor Dean Baquet.

The New Yorker attempted to explain why, with the leading theory being Abramson’s discovery several weeks ago that she earned less than her male predecessor.

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The Literary Novel is Dead! Long Live the Literary Novel!

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It happens every now and then that we find someone toasting (or mourning) the death of the novel—this time, it’s Will Self’s turn.

“How do you think it feels to have dedicated your entire adult life to an art form only to see the bloody thing dying before your eyes?” At the Guardian, the British writer answers his own question with the transcript of his Richard Hillary Memorial Lecture.

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Lit Fic Is Just Another Genre

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Jane Austen wrote for money. She also made readers laugh. So why are her books considered literature rather than genre fiction? Clever marketing, claims Elizabeth Edmondson over at the Guardian. Despite many attempts to define “literary fiction” as something dry and bland, writers have historically written to entertain (and to sell their words)—the importance of categorization comes much later:

Of course, the fact that lit crit types make some absurd claims for lit fic doesn’t mean writers within this category don’t write good books.

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Pink Books and Blue Books

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Across the pond, the Let Books Be Books campaign is circulating a petition calling on publishers of children’s books to stop labeling books according to gender and to “allow children to choose freely what kinds of stories and activity books interest them.” Prominent British authors and publishers have come out in support of the campaign—Phillip Pullman, author of the His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy, says “I’m against anything, from age-ranging to pinking and blueing, whose effect is to shut the door in the face of children who might enjoy coming in.”

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Mary Shelley’s Correspondence Discovered!

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Nora Crook, in perhaps the most exciting click ever to happen on the internet, made the discovery of a lifetime when she came across previously unpublished correspondence from the late Frankenstein author Mary Shelley. The article at The Guardian describes several letters written by Shelley shortly before her death.

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